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Islanders finalize regular season roster

It’s official; The New York Islanders have their 23 man roster. After much discussion over which Islanders were put on waivers, Josh Ho-Sang, Thomas Hickey and Tanner Fritz all cleared and are headed to Bridgeport to provide extra depth for the Islanders.

There were a lot of tough decisions; Who would be the odd-man out on defense? Where would someone like Michael Dal Colle fit in? Would someone as young as Noah Dobson actually make the team? All of those questions have been answered, and there are many thoughts about these decisions.

Why is Ross Johnston on this team?

The most asked question from Islander fans is “Why isn’t Josh Ho-Sang on this team” and the answer is that he’s extremely over-hyped and although he adapted to Barry Trotz’s system somewhat, is still extremely prone to turnovers and being pushed off the puck. On top of that, what has Ho-Sang shown in the preseason or even last season that warrants him a spot on this team?

The most logical question from Islander fans is “Why is Ross Johnston on this team” and we’ll start there. Ross Johnston is a goon. He actually has surprisingly good career numbers for a goon who sparingly plays (4 G, 6 A) but nonetheless he is a still a goon.

Ross Johnston would have been the perfect 14th forward on a team ten years ago. With the league getting faster every year and him playing only 7-8 minutes a game anyway, it makes little sense to keep him up. His defense isn’t particularly good because he’s big and slow, and although he’s been surprising offensively, how much of that is a mirage? Couple that with the fact that Casey Cizikas is nursing an injury and Johnston should be down and Tanner Fritz should be up.

Barry and Lou really like Michael Dal Colle

Barry Trotz challenged Michael Dal Colle to take that spot on the roster and Dal Colle passed his test with flying colors. Dal Colle will probably never live up to his status as a fifth overall pick, but he has damn sure turned himself into a reliable Top 9 forward on this Islanders team.

Dal Colle’s goal against the New York Rangers and his responsible play on defense solidified his spot on the roster. Heck, he’s been penciled in as a Top 6 winger next to Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey. He has worked his way from a potential bust into a top six winger in just a few seasons. That’s pretty impressive.

Dal Colle has also been penciled in on the Power Play (for now) and that will remain to be seen. He lit up the AHL last season and if he can even somewhat replicate those numbers at the highest level, the Islanders will be in a good spot.

It’s a nice redemption story for the kid. Even though it took him a little while longer than most expected to get here, he’s now going to be a regular player for the Islanders as long as he produces and is good defensively.

Noah Dobson is going to be a star (but please be patient)

The fact that a 19 year old kid made a team that was the best defensive unit in the NHL last season is a testament to how talented Noah Dobson is. He is poised, strong and polished as a defenseman beyond his years. Dobson deserves to be on this team and his play proved it in the preseason.

Now, Islander fans need to be patient with the kid. When he is inevitably scratched for the first time (which may be opening night) please do not go crazy all over Twitter and curse Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello to Hell because he isn’t giving the kid a shot.

Just because he’s on the team doesn’t mean that he will automatically become a sensation overnight. It took Devon Toews a while to get going. It took Ryan Pulock a few seasons to catch his stride and become the elite defenseman that he is now. Hell, Mathew Barzal got sent back to Juniors his first season in the NHL and is the best player on the team. Please be patient. Dobson will be just fine, it just takes time. Good luck to Andrew Gross and Arthur Staple when posting lineups.

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